Marc Henri Desportes, Worldline: "We consider we are now at a turning point for the payment business"

Tuesday 19 November 2013 11:21 CET | Editor: Melisande Mual | Interview

New technologies drive expectations in terms of user experience in a real disruptive way Marc-Henri Desportes is in charge of managing Worldline, a subsidiary of the Atos Group that develops high value-added services around payment to support the revolution taking place in the Business to Consumer segment. He has been appointed as General Manager since Worldlines creation through a carve-out in July 2013. Marc Henri is a

Atos decided to carve out the payments business Atos Worldline. The new brand Worldline has been operational since July 2013. What are the biggest changes in the way you work now and what do you currently offer to your customers?

Marc Henri Desportes: Let me first introduce Worldline to The Paypers readers: Worldline, an Atos company, combines both the payment and transactional activities of Atos in one entity, to form a European leader in these domains.
In terms of reach, Worldline operates under its own brand in 17 countries, with 7,100 experts onboard, offices across Asia and Latin America and EUR 1.1 billion in revenues globally.

Our core market is Europe, more specifically Benelux, France and Germany. But we are also growing in Spain, the UK, as well as in Central and Eastern Europe. We really want to extend our European footprint to offer our services to merchants and financial institutions in more countries. We now have a presence in the APAC region and India, where the industry potential and the appetite for innovation are huge!

“At Worldline, connecting and securing transactions is what we do on a daily basis. We connect the worlds of electronic banking, mobile and ecommerce using 40 years of technological expertise and our global reach to provide connection services via secured networks that are available almost everywhere.

In a fast-moving and mobility-driven world, Worldline’s ambition is to help retailers and financial institutions provide a seamless and innovative transactional experience to their end users and grow their revenue streams.”

Marc Henri Desportes, General Manager, Worldline

The reason behind the carve-out decision was our intention to make our business more visible and more focused, as we wanted it to react faster to new market opportunities. With regard to the timing of such a move, we consider we are now at a turning point for the payment business: new technologies drive expectations in terms of user experience in a real disruptive way. It is time for a new way of offering payment services; it is time to extend the payment value chain!

This change has brought about a new opportunity for us to organize Worldline around three global business lines: Merchant Services & Terminals for merchants, Financial Processing & Software Licensing for financial institutions, and Mobility & e-Transactional Services for services like transport and government where payments and transactions can be more closely bundled. Worldline is capable of offering a mix of the latest technologies and our deep-rooted payment business know-how. With our new organization and focus on the user experience, we pushed it further in terms of preparing the solutions for the challenges pertaining to each category of clients.

What about future partnerships, or the IPO that was mentioned in 2013?

Marc Henri Desportes: Regarding an IPO,it will help support Worldline development as the company is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in the consolidation of the European market. Depending on financial market conditions, 2014 looks to be the perfect time to do it after consultation of the appropriate employee representative organizations.

As for future partnerships, this new structure will definitely play a major role, giving us the financial flexibility to initiate future collaborations, but always under a strict Atos control.

Could you mention some of the company`s achievements? Or, in other words, what are you most proud of with Worldline?

Marc Henri Desportes: There are many things we are proud of, but to mention a few:

• Our outstanding mix of the latest innovations in payments, coupled with a long-lasting trust-based relationship with our customers;
• We already cover the payment value chain more than any other player on the market, ranging from e-commerce and m-commerce solutions to payment acceptance, processing and beyond (loyalty and CRM solutions);
• Our employees have an outstanding mix of tech and business expertise

How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?

Marc Henri Desportes: Here I would mention three key differentiators:
• Our coverage of the payment value chain is unique
• Our range of IP (Intellectual Property)
• Our technological ability to execute in all technological environments, coming from our IT DNA
What is your strategy for the coming years?

Marc Henri Desportes: Our strategy for the next three years is focused around the following priorities:
• Reinforce our technological leadership on new payment means (mobile, internet, NFC)
• Contribute to the digital transformation of our clients particularly with the roll out of our technologies and innovative payment solutions, allowing the adoption of new usage
• Increase partnerships to enrich offerings and services delivery
• Develop and consolidate a global organization with its highly skilled staff
• Accelerate the industrialization of platforms and technical operations
• Succeed in strategic acquisitions in new geographies and/or bringing new offerings portfolio

On which innovative front does Worldline plan to stand out from the crowd in 2013 – 2014?
Marc Henri Desportes:
You are right in mentioning the crowd, as the innovation space looks very crowded these days. With the mobile revolution and new expectations from consumers or the potential of big data, we see many announcements being made every day and countless tests/pilots carried out by various stakeholders of the payments system. However, in spite of such abundance of initiatives, we still do not know what solutions will be adopted and which ones will pass the market test.

Against the backdrop of this wave of innovation, the experience gathered throughout 40 years of activity in the payments sector gives us the certainty that new technologies and practices will always be on the market - and only those who can create real value for the end customer will be able to stand out from the crowd and make a difference.

The experienced client is therefore the central focus of our R & D program. We believe in the idea that we add value to the payment transactions, whether through ergonomics, customization or additional features (geo-location integration with loyalty programs or online banking reporting) which naturally must be combined with two basic elements, namely speed and security.

We have recently integrated our secure technology solutions with many wallets or online payment services and for the coming months, our intention is to further extend the payment value chain via:

o more payment solutions integrated with e- and mobile commerce
o more value to cardholders for banks, through new VAS like loyalty programs, new form factors
o further integration of payments in various services, including transport

You will be present at Cartes 2013, which takes place in Paris 19-21 November. Can you reveal some details regarding some innovative services/initiatives your company will announce at the event?

Marc Henri Desportes: At Cartes, we will present a new solution that will offer a real difference in privacy protection in the contactless payments domain. We believe that there is a lot of potential for creating value out of data used by willing consumers. We are also convinced that for some users, privacy is going to be a key issue. Public transportation is a good example in this context. This new solution will enable the use of contactless mobile services, while providing a high level of guarantee in terms of privacy protection and trust.
Secondly, we will present our latest initiative related to wallets. As we are specialized in electronic payments and transactional services, our goal is to offer our clients a solution that will improve both online and offline shopping experiences. Our merchant and user experience focus allows us to propose ways to simplify the purchasing process, which enables merchants to increase significantly their transformation rate and boost m-commerce development.

Last but not least, we also plan to disclose the launch of new payment terminals. I invite you to meet us at the Cartes event to see and test these new devices!

For more information about Worldline, please check out a detailed profile of this company in our dedicated, industry-specific online companies database.

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Keywords: Worldline, France, online payments, merchants, Marc-Henri Desportes, Atos, disruptive innovation, online payment, EVP, carve-out
Countries: World

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